From 2019 to 2020, the value of exported fertilizers decreased by -5.9%.
Often overlooked in economic studies, fertilizers are critical drivers for growing crops that feed people around the world.
The 5 biggest fertilizer exporters are Russia, China, Canada, United States and Morocco. Collectively, those major suppliers accounted for 46.9% of globally exported fertilizers during 2020.
Among continents, countries in Europe sold the highest dollar worth of exported fertilizers during 2020 with shipments valued at $21 billion or 38.3% of the global total. In second place were Asian exporters at 30.9% while 16.6% of international fertilizer shipments originated from North America. Another 11.4% were sent from Africa (11.4%).
Smaller percentages came from Latin America (2.3%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, and Oceania (0.5%) led by Australia.
As for different types of exported fertilizers, about three-quarters (75.5%) were nitrogen-based. Potassic fertilizers represent 20.7% compared to phosphatic fertilizers at 2.1%. Excluding those mineral or chemical fertilizer subcategories, the other type was animal or vegetable fertilizers which accounted for the remaining 1.7%.
For research purposes, the higher level 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System code prefix is 31 for fertilizers.
Top Fertilizers Exports by Country
Below are the 15 countries that exported the highest dollar value worth of fertilizers during 2020.
- Russia: US$7 billion (12.7% of total exported fertilizers)
- China: $6.6 billion (12%)
- Canada: $5.2 billion (9.4%)
- United States: $3.7 billion (6.7%)
- Morocco: $3.4 billion (6.2%)
- Belarus: $2.6 billion (4.7%)
- Netherlands: $2 billion (3.7%)
- Belgium: $1.6 billion (2.9%)
- Qatar: $1.3 billion (2.4%)
- Saudi Arabia: $1.2 billion (2.3%)
- Egypt: $1.2 billion (2.1%)
- Israel: $1.2 billion (2.1%)
- Oman: $1.1 billion (2%)
- Germany: $1 billion (1.9%)
- Spain: $996.5 million (1.8%)
By value, the listed 15 countries shipped 72.8% of globally exported fertilizers in 2020.
Among the top exporters, there was a trio of growing fertilizer exporters since 2019, specifically: Morocco (up 16.1%), Saudi Arabia (up 10.2%) and Oman (up 4.9%).
Those countries that posted declines in their international sales of fertilizers were led by: Belarus (down -20.3%), Russia (down -16.7%), Egypt (down -12.8%), United States (down -11.1%) and China (down -8.4%).
The following countries posted the highest positive net exports for fertilizers during 2020. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports. Thus, the statistics below present the surplus between the value of each country’s exported fertilizers and its import purchases for that same commodity.
- Russia: US$6.9 billion (net export surplus down -16.8% since 2019)
- Canada: $3.7 billion (down -8%)
- China: $3.66 billion (up 0.9%)
- Morocco: $3.1 billion (up 17.8%)
- Belarus: $2.5 billion (down -21.3%)
- Netherlands: $1.33 billion (down -6.1%)
- Qatar: $1.31 billion (down -6.6%)
- Saudi Arabia: $1.15 billion (up 10.9%)
- Oman: $1.08 billion (up 5.6%)
- Israel: $1.08 billion (down -7%)
- Egypt: $978.3 million (down -12.3%)
- Jordan: $872.5 million (up 5.4%)
- Algeria: $799.2 million (up 8.1%)
- Belgium: $645.7 million (down -5.1%)
- United Arab Emirates: $541.7 million (reversing a -$25.9 million deficit)
The Russian Federation generated the highest surplus in the international trade of fertilizers. In turn, this positive cashflow confirms Russia’s strong competitive advantage for this specific product category.
The following countries posted the highest negative net exports for fertilizers during 2020. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports. Thus, the statistics below present the deficit between the value of each country’s imported fertilizers purchases and its exports for that same commodity.
- Brazil: -US$7.9 billion (net export deficit down -12.6% since 2019)
- India: -$7.1 billion (down -0.1%)
- United States: -$2.1 billion (down -26.8%)
- France: -$1.5 billion (down -9.9%)
- Thailand: -$1.3 billion (down -9.7%)
- Australia: -$1.23 billion (down -7.6%)
- Mexico: -$1.18 billion (up 10.5%)
- Argentina: -$1.1 billion (up 11.1%)
- Turkey: -$753.4 million (down -29.9%)
- Indonesia: -$635.7 million (down -32%)
- Vietnam: -$619.3 million (down -19.2%)
- Philippines: -$603.9 million (down -1.6%)
- Colombia: -$593.8 million (up 6.1%)
- United Kingdom: -$572.7 million (down -25%)
- Japan: -$565.9 million (down -11.8%)
Brazil incurred the highest deficit in the international trade of fertilizers. In turn, this negative cashflow highlights Brazil’s competitive disadvantage for this specific product category but also signals opportunities for fertilizers-supplying countries that help satisfy the powerful demand.
Fertilizers Exporting Companies
Below are global fertilizers-processing conglomerates that represent established players engaged in the international trade of fertilizers. The home country for each is shown within parenthesis.
- Abu Qir Fertilizers and Chemicals (Egypt)
- Acron Group (Russia)
- Intrepid Potash (United States)
- Nutrien (Canada)
- Sinofert (China)
See also Top Pesticides Exporters, Chemical Exports by Country and Top Water and Ice Exporters by Country
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Field Listing: Exports – Commodities. Accessed on August 18, 2021
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on August 18, 2021
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on August 18, 2021
Wikipedia, Category:Fertilizer companies. Accessed on August 18, 2021